Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher hit out at two decisions from referee John Brookes during the first-half of the Reds’ Premier League fixture at Newcastle United.
Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold was shown a yellow card inside the opening 60 seconds at St James Park for throwing the ball away after seemingly being pushed in the back by United winger Anthony Gordon.
Just minutes later, the duo came head-to-head once again as Gordon was hauled down by the England star - but referee Brookes invoked the wrath of the home faithful by opting to give Alexander-Arnold a final warning, rather than the second yellow card many expected.
Speaking at half-time, Carragher told Sky Sports: “He deserves a yellow card, we know the rules, he throws the ball away.
“But it’s a really poor decision and the referee makes a rod for his own back. How he doesn’t give a foul there is absolutely unbelievable. It’s frustration, he throws the ball away, but we know the rules now and it should be a foul.
“Hence why he gives him the yellow card and I think that’s why he doesn’t give the second yellow.”
However, the Reds were reduced to ten men just three minutes after Anthony Gordon punished an error from Alexander-Arnold to put the Magpies ahead when Virgil van Dijk saw red for a challenge on Alexander Isak.
The Dutch international was judged to have denied a goalscoring opportunity and made his way down the tunnel after a VAR check clarified the on-field decision - but Carragher took exception with the call and believes the Reds captain did not deny Isak a chance on goal.
“Virgil van Dijk does a lot wrong here,” explained the former England defender.
“He’s lazy initially in terms of not getting across, the decision to make a challenge is ill-advised - but I still don’t believe that’s a red card. I don’t think there’s enough there. How do you know that’s a goalscoring opportunity? I think he’s lazy, he should get over earlier, he should not really make the challenge but that is not a red card.”
However, former Magpies goalkeeper Shay Given disagreed with Carragher and insisted the decision was the correct one.
He said: “I disagree, I think it’s the right decision.
“It’s a red card because Isak is a centre forward and he’s trying to let the ball run across him and he’s through one-on-one with Alisson and he’s denied a goalscoring opportunity.”